Rural Banks Improve Development in Rural Areas – Regional Minister

The Acting Upper East Regional Minister Mr.  Frank Adongo Fuseini, has lauded the impact of rural banks in Ghana emphasising that, the concept of rural and community banks has over the decades bridged the yawning gap that hitherto existed between rural and urban financial transactions.

In a speech read on his behalf at the 6th Annual General Meeting of the Bongo Rural Bank over the weekend, the Minister also observed that, this class of banks had the responsibility of mobilising savings in rural communities, investing some of the savings for good returns and to use the funds to provide credit to micro-enterprises in their operational areas. This the Minister noted, would then trigger the needed growth and development in the local economies.

Mr. Fuseini also noted that, rural banks were very critical stakeholders in the successful implementation of government’s flagship programmes such as the “Planting for Food and Jobs” and other pro-poor interventions like the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), as funds were mostly channeled through such banks to state agencies to withdraw and disburse to beneficiaries. Meanwhile, small-holder farmers and other farmer-groups can usually have quick and easy access to credit facilities to improve their farming activities in order to increase yields.

He disclosed that there were about 140 registered rural and community banks across Ghana whose operations were being supervised by the ARB Apex Bank under stringent Bank of Ghana regulations to safeguard the deposits of customers and other investors who transact business with the banks.

Touching on the recent challenges in the country’s financial sector which witnessed the collapse or consolidation of some banks, he said the Bank of Ghana had identified poor banking practices coupled with weak supervision from some of its own departments, as the causes of panic withdrawals and rampant closure of accounts by customers all resulting in the current uneasiness in the banking sector. He however commended Management of the Bongo Rural Bank for remaining resilient in the midst of all these storms noting that, the bank’s brilliant strategies led to its achievement of a profit of 12 percent at end of year 2017 despite the depreciation of the Ghana Cedi against all other major currencies at the time.

He charged the Bank to keep up with its corporate social responsibility drive in helping the health, agriculture and education sectors in the Bongo District stressing that, the local people, the District Assembly and by large, the Government of Ghana always appreciate such complimentary efforts. He also urged the Board and staff of the Bank to reach out to its shareholders and the general public through intense publicity on radio and other platforms so as to build their trust in the bank and to assure them that, the bank was capable of watching over their savings and doing prudent investments to attract maximum dividends for them.

Board Chairman of the Bongo Rural Bank, Hon. Azitariga Gaaga Akayerige in his report to the AGM announced that, the bank ended this year’s 3rd Quarter September 2018 with a Stated Capital of 1.23 million Ghana Cedis which he noted, exceeded the mandatory minimum capital requirement set by the Bank of Ghana. He therefore praised Management and staff of the bank for their sterling performance that resulted in meeting this threshold.

Mr. Akayerige also revealed that the bank’s profit appreciated from 260,535.00 Ghana Cedis in 2016 to 292,295.00 by close of 2017 representing, a 12 percent rise in its profits. The bank also succeeded in increasing its Total Assets from 3,609,056.00 Ghana Cedis to 5,747,288.00 Ghana Cedis within the same period. Other financial indices of the bank such as Total Deposits, also rose to 4,845,658.00 Ghana Cedis in 2017 from the previous year’s figure of 3,266,239.00 Ghana Cedis. Its Net Worth also went up from the 2016 figure of GH₵205, 718.00 to GH₵608,118.00 as at the end of December, 2017.

The Board Chairman said though his bank had not made huge profits within the period of reporting, it was able to deliver on its corporate social responsibility by spending 4,000.00 Ghana Cedis in support of activities relating to health, culture, education, sports and the environment. He revealed that the bank had a staff strength of 17 and pledged that, some of them would be assisted to upgrade their knowledge in the banking sector at regular intervals.

He made a passionate appeal to shareholders to buy more shares in order to make the bank more solvent assuring them that, Management and the Board will continue to adhere to laid-down regulations in the sector and also, roll out new banking products that could bring in more dividends on their savings and investments.

Bongo District Chief Executive Mr. Peter Ayinbisa Ayamga, in a speech read for him by his Coordinating Director, gave the assurance that as the biggest shareholder in the bank, the Assembly will continue to lend its support to the bank as well as play effective roles in its sustenance and further growth. He noted that the bank’s existence over the years had positively impacted businesses in the district and also, improved other basic economic activities.

Source: Peter Atogewe Wedam (ISD)

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